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Pins and Needles Sensation

Pins and Needles Sensation

Peripheral neuropathy, compression of nerves, or blood circulation problems could be the contributing factors for the pins and needles sensation in the hands and feet. This write-up provides information on the causes and treatment of such a sensation.
Smita Pandit
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
Medically referred to as paresthesia, the pins and needles sensation can affect any part of the body. However, it usually affects the lower extremities. At times, sitting or lying in an uncomfortable position can cause a part of the body to become numb or a tingling sensation is felt in that part of the body. In common parlance, we often describe that part as being 'asleep'. More often than not, changing the posture has a remedial effect and the tingling sensation gets resolved soon.
Causes of Paresthesia
Whenever we lean on a limb in an awkward position, it has an impact on the blood circulation. Since excess weight is put on the nerves in that area, the blood supply to that area gets affected. When you try to get up or change the position, the nerves start sending messages again to the brain and spinal cord. As a result, you experience a tingling sensation. While occasional episodes are harmless, recurring episodes must not be ignored, as these might be indicative of problems in the central nervous system.
The common contributing factors include:
  • Compressed nerves
  • Sciatica (inflamed sciatic nerve)
  • Nerve injury or entrapment
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Alcoholism
  • Peripheral neuropathy (a complication of diabetes mellitus)
  • Prolonged use of certain drugs
  • Exposure to toxins such as lead or mercury
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hyperventilation
Since damage to peripheral nerves is a gradual process, medical assistance must be sought for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Treatment of Paresthesia
The treatment will vary depending on the medical condition responsible for causing paresthesia. As far as the treatment of a minor tingling sensation in the hands and feet is concerned, stretching the limb or altering your position will improve the blood circulation and provide relief. In case, the prickling sensation in hands and feet is caused due to diabetes, keeping the blood sugar levels in control will help.
In some cases, physiotherapy coupled with the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and nutritional supplements will help. Since excessive intake of alcohol can also lead to inflammation of nerves and aggravate this condition, alcohol must be avoided. A thorough medical examination becomes extremely important, so as to identify the underlying cause. Once the cause is determined, it will be easier to cure this condition.
All of us suffer from occasional bouts of tingling in the limbs due to poor blood circulation, but if you often experience this sensation, get yourself examined soon. Treating the underlying condition responsible for this sensation will certainly help.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.